European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 345–353 | Cite as

Variation in caries treatment proposals among dentists in Norway: the best interest of the child

  • A. RønnebergEmail author
  • A. B. Skaare
  • B. Hofmann
  • I. Espelid
Original Scientific Article



To explore variation in treatment-related-decisions for severe caries in children among dentists in the Public Dental Service (PDS) in Norway. It was also to evaluate the treatment choices in relation to the best interest of children and a child’s rights to enjoy the highest standard of health care.


A pre-coded questionnaire was sent electronically to all general dental practitioners (GDPs) working in the PDS in eight counties in Norway (n = 611). The questionnaire included two case scenarios to reflect common dental conditions related to severe caries among 5-year-old children. Paediatric dentists and paediatric students were invited to validate the different treatment options. Frequency distributions and statistical analyses were carried out using Chi square statistics.


The response rate was 65% (n = 391) among the GDPs. A majority of the GDPs preferred a new appointment with behaviour management techniques (BMT) to a child presenting pulpitis and pain. Dentists educated outside the Nordic region would use restraint more often as a treatment alternative when the child was in pain than Nordic-educated dentists (p < 0.05). Dentists with less than 10 years of experience preferred BMT and sedation more often when the child was in pain than their older colleagues, who, however, preferred a waiting approach and no immediate treatment if the child was not in pain (p < 0.05).


Use of BMT and sedation is related to region of education and years of experience. Awareness of ethical principles with the child´s best interest in mind, should receive increased attention.


Children Dental anxiety Dentist-patient relations Ethics Clinical Behavioural management 



The authors would like to thank dentists in the Public Dental Service in the counties of Finnmark, Nordland, Sør-Trøndelag, Møre og Romsdal, Hordaland, Vest-Agder, Hedmark and Oslo for their contributions to the study.

Authors’ contributions

Study concept, design and methodology—AR, ABS, BH, IE. Data collection and data entry—AR. Supervision—IE, ABS. Analysis and interpretation of data—AR, ABS, IE. Writing, review, critique, comments and revision of manuscript—AR, ABS, BH, IE. All authors have read and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human participants

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Paediatric Dentistry and Behavioural Science, Faculty of Dentistry, Institute of Clinical DentistryUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Section for Health, Technology and SocietyThe Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)GjøvikNorway
  3. 3.Centre for Medical EthicsUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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